8 Can Houses


As with bottle houses, there are also a few houses made out of cans. Tin can wall construction is not as popular as bottle wall construction. This may be due both to fact that the cans, by themselves, do not provide the cumulative tensile strength necessary for load-bearing walls. (Or perhaps bottles just win out over cans, on account of the stained glass window effect.)

Sometimes the cans are added to the houses later, either as a recycled kind of DIY aluminum siding or as decorative details.

(8 examples follow after the fold…)

[Read more…]

Depression Milk Show


Left photo via EatMeDaily.com; right photo from the NY Food Museum website

Sort of ironic, that I only learn about this NY Food Museum show (in Brooklyn, just across the river from me) via Moscow-based PopSop website. But, it’s all good: A history of the “Consumer-Farmer Milk Cooperative” (which, in 1938, the Special Investigation Committee on Un-American Activities cited as a “communist-launched group.”)

The Over Spilt Milk show features: “Consumer-Farmer Milk Cooperative pamphlets and broadsides, vintage milk cartons, and miniature dioramas…”

I like the arcane tri-foil metal closure on the top of that carton. (I'm just making up my own terminology here—if you know a more accurate name for that type of carton please weigh in!)

The CFMC unveiled their paper milk carton in the first edition of The Link, praising its convenience: “Lighter than bottles to carry (one weighs only 2 oz.); no washing; more sanitary; no exposed pouring surface; closed spout prevents entrance of bacteria and dust.” The lightweight design also improved delivery efficiency. In 1943, Parodneck reported that a delivery route of 135 cases of paper cartons carried 2,700 quarts of milk, compared to the 1500 quarts carried by a bottle route of 125 cases. An emblem of Coop modernism, the paper carton’s convenience and efficiency was celebrated on promotional material, newsletters and at fancy dress parties: a Co-op office manager once attended a League of Mother’s Club Dance wearing “a green dress covered with Co-op literature, a necklace of vouchers, and on her head a ½ pint Co-op milk container.” It was the perfect outfit to characterize the triumphant fulfillment of the CMFC's mission.

–excerpted from the NY Food Museum website

(More photos and info about show, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

Shrink-wrapped Meat Tray Packaging for Clothes

On left: “Human Meat” brand Bermuda shorts from Weird Clothing (via PopSop); on right: promotional, fund-raising package for a local zoo designed by Sydney-based Salad Design for WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature) and the Australian clothing company, Mooks (via Lovely Package)

Cross-referential packages that conflate tailors and butchers? Is there a mini-trend of clothing-packaged-like-perishable-meat? (If there are any more examples out there, then maybe so.)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Tom Fruin


Another “discarded packaging as creative medium” story—(thanks to Daniel Wangelin’s comment)—similar to the previous post about El Anatsui. (And again I’m quoting an article by Gregg Cook…)

Tom Fruin noticed the postage-stamp-sized plastic baggies in front of his apartment building not long after his move to New York’s Lower East Side, in 1996. The bags had packaged drugs, he realized, but back in Los Angeles, where he grew up, he’d never noticed bags of such colors and patterns and tiny size…. “I was just wasting so much time looking at them that I started picking them up.”

Over the following months, he collected dozens, and he pushed them around on a table in his Brooklyn studio, arranging them side by side, sliding them inside one another, certain he had to make something of them, but not sure what. Finally he struck on the idea of stitching them together like patchwork quilts.

Tom Fruin’s bad habits,
Looking for beauty in the detritus of drug culture

Greg Cook, The Boston Phoenix, July 11, 2006

Although we’ve touched on the subject of drug packet branding before—(see Packaging Junk)—I get the feeling we have not yet scratched the surface.

(See a video of Fruin discussing his work, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

El Anatsui


Another artist upcycling packaging into artwork:

The sculptor El Anatsui was out scavenging for materials near his home in Nsukka, Nigeria, one day in the late 1990s when he found a bag of discarded bottle caps. He kept them in his studio for several months until he hit on the idea of pounding them flat and stitching them together like patchwork fabrics….

“I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up. I think that’s what has been happening in Africa for a long time,” Anatsui said in a 2003 interview. “I believe that color is inherent in everything, and it’s possible to get color from around you, and that you’re better off picking something which relates to your circumstances and your environment than going to buy a ready-made color.”

Dartmouth showcases sculptor who turns junk into precious metals
Greg Cook, The Boston Globe,  February 24, 2007

(via The New York Times Magazine)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design



I recently traveled to Toronto for the 2009 Interior Design Show. Besides being a great way to spot upcoming trends in colors, textures and styles, I also noticed how packages and package design played a role.

The first example was as student project from the Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design called NAPitat (shown above). Created from the remnants of large cardboard boxes and transformed into a dual purpose workstation and napping area (which one student gladly demonstrated for me), this piece struck me as not only reusing packaging but also impressed me with the intricate “dielines” that the students developed to create a piece that fit together without any fasteners. (168 hand cut pieces to be exact)

The next, and most direct, example of packaging used in interior design was this piece using silver upside-down bottle shaped feet. Now Randy can have bottle-footed furniture in his bottle shaped houses.



The remaining examples were packages chosen for their color and aesthetic qualities to help accent the displays, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. (Of course, Method had an appearance) Or perhaps they were suggestions of the preferred packages of Canandian interior designers, as if to say to be chic in the land of hockey and the mounted police, one simply must have (see photos) in one’s home.




Daniel Wangelin
[re]noun creative

Hotel Soap

Toledo hotel soap_ms atomic

Vintage Toledo Hotel soap. Photo by Flickr user Ms. Atomic

My job requires me to live in a hotel three nights a week, so I've gotten to know my hotel soaps pretty well. As a lover of all things miniature and complimentary, hotel soaps delight me to no end. The ones that I have now are more or less functional, but I've gotten really swanky-looking amenities, notably in hotels in Asia.

Hotel soap can have a large impact (negative or positive) on the image of comfort and/or luxury that a hotel is trying to provide. But it's uniquely challenging because it must be economical in terms of space as well as production costs.

In honor of hotel soap (and every mom's habit of collecting millions of them and hoarding them in a box under the sink… "just in case"), here's a roundup of some soaps I wish I had the good fortune of finding in my hotel bathroom.

[Read more…]

Robots and Packaging


A Care-o-bot robot with beer bottle

Here are some pictures of robots handling packaging. Not those automated “packaging robots” that are used for packaging and palletization. These are service robots. (Or kitchen robots… or home-based helper robots, etc.) This is not the first time we’ve touched on the subject. (See: Talking Package)

It does makes sense that, if robots of this type are to be of any help to us, they’ll need to be capable of opening packages.


Top left: “The bottle-bot” built by John V-Neun and Chris Carnevale at Innovation First, Inc.  (see video after the fold); top right: IBM’s 1982 robotic system lifting an egg from the carton; middle left: the Asahi Beerbot; middle on right: The DLR Hand from German Aerospace Center; lower left: a Tomy Toys robot (via The Old Robots); lower right: Mr. Asahi, the bartender robot (see video here, and another after the fold)

(More photos of robots with packaging and 4 videos, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

3-petal Lotus Splendor pack

An intriguing mechanism for Lancôme’s limited edition “Lotus Splendor” package.

“The lotus head splits open to reveal three petals containing lip and eye products and a mini mirror, each leaf hinges & clicks back neatly and seamlessly into the weighted base by using hidden magnetic closures.”

Although the design is said to based on the petals of a lotus flower, there is a polyhedral geometry at work that might also make this package appealing to those in robotics club. It even does that Weeble/Gömböc thing.

(via POPSOP)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design